Intern experiences “ideal environment” in MQI finance department

Sensing the need to become more employable even while furthering her education led a third-year student at the University of the West Indies (UWI) to pursue an internship with a leading conglomerate. And as a result she’s experienced the “ideal environment” for gaining experience in a company’s finance operations.

Kristie Francis, 20, is one of 17 students and graduates, in the inaugural internship programme at ANSA McAL (Barbados) Ltd. She explained that she applied because, “I thought that I was constantly just seeking to further my education and not gaining the experience needed to make me more employable.”

Kristie spent several weeks as a Finance Assistant Intern with leading automotive dealer, McEnearney Quality Inc; (MQI). There she was privy to see the company going through a major upgrade to its software system which has, among other things, improved communication between the service and parts departments.

Kristie Francis (second from right) spent part of this summer as an intern in the inaugural ANSA McAL (Barbados) Internship Programme. Here she works with group members on a poster during the orientation session.

Kristie Francis (second from right) spent part of this summer as an intern in the inaugural ANSA McAL (Barbados) Internship Programme. Here she works with group members on a poster during the orientation session.

I learnt that organisational change is far more technical than persons would expect. Timing and good leadership are quite important,” Kristie noted.

The intern went on to describe MQI and its finance department specifically as an “open system”. She added: “It’s a culture where persons can easily feel welcomed and a part of the company. Employees are also very dedicated to their work and sacrifice long hours to ensure the smooth running of the company, as the finance department is practically the company’s backbone.”

“This internship has really shown me that working daily within an organisation is not an easy task. I will really need to engage in good time management so as to balance deadlines at work and with furthering my studies. I am now somewhat more mentally equipped to tackle the working world and still continue to achieve my other goals.”

Kristie, who is pursuing a BSc in Accounting and Finance, said that her next step was to pursue the ACCA designation while gaining continuous experience in the accounting and finance areas.

The student, who hails from Grenada, also spoke highly of the workshops offered as part of the internship experience. “They gave me a holistic picture as to what one should be aware of when working with different people of different personalities. Being a non-national, clearly communicating to my coworkers was something that I had to continuously be aware of, to avoid any misinterpretations. So that workshop out of all the others stood out the most.”

Kristie, said the internship at MQI exceeded her expectations. “I actually felt like I had a purpose and was a part of the organisation. I learnt basically how the finance department runs and was able to apply knowledge from my university education thus far.”

The internship programme was launched in June and ends in September. It is designed to give the students “real life” exposure to the world of work across the ANSA McAL group of companies and help them develop valuable skills to succeed in their chosen professions.

The internship programme attracted almost 300 applicants. Apart from exposure to the world of work the interns have had the opportunity to attend personal development workshops covering topics such as communications skills, emotional intelligence and time management, explained Group Organisational Development Manager, Monique Hassell.

Kristie in summing up her internship experience said: “Overall I would say that it was a great learning experience and the ideal environment for persons to get hands on with the day-to-day finance operations faced in an organisation.”

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